IBM Talent Business Uses AI To Rethink The Modern Workforce

ARMONK, — As artificial intelligence (AI) promises to transform both the future of work and the human resources (HR) function, IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced IBM Talent & Transformation, a new business to help companies and their employees flourish in the era of AI and automation. IBM Talent & Transformation provides not only robust AI skills training, but also helps companies drive the transformation necessary to use AI to empower employees, transform workflows, eliminate bias and build a modern workforce.

While CEOs and employees agree that AI will transform the workplace, recent IBM studies reveal that few feel prepared to take advantage of AI’s potential:

  • In the next three years, as many as 120 million workers in the world’s 10 largest economies may need to be retrained or reskilled as a result of AI and intelligent automation, according to new research from IBM.

“As organizations grapple with the dual demands of undertaking digital transformation and reinventing their businesses and processes through the application of new technologies such as AI, automation and blockchain, the biggest barrier to progress will lie in accessing the right talent and skills,” said Mark Foster, senior vice president, IBM Global Business Services. “IBM believes that building a workforce to compete in the era of AI is as much about culture and specialized expertise as it is about technology.”

With the help of IBM Talent & Transformation, AI can be ushered into organizations with impact and responsibility and also become the catalyst for HR organizations to transform from service function to growth engine, helping companies to attract and retain a diverse and highly skilled workforce that drives and evolves with the future of their business.

The IBM Model, Enterprise Ready
IBM’s new services, AI tools and related training initiatives take learnings from methods and technologies that IBM has applied to drive its own workforce transformation. These services harness the power of AI personalization to guide employees in developing skills and pursuing opportunities to grow within the company. They also allow HR teams to measure flight risk for proactive retention and use bias reduction capabilities to flag bias in recruitment efforts, such as language in job descriptions. When applied to IBM’s own HR function, these services drove more than $300 million in benefits to the company, $107 million in benefits in 2017 alone, and resulted in significantly better candidate, employee and manager satisfaction.

IBM has already partnered with clients to successfully complete more than 1,000 HR transformation projects globally. Through consulting engagements or by outsourcing talent acquisition, talent development or HR operations to IBM, organizations like Shire plc are reinventing their human capital strategies to drive business growth.

AI can complement employee skills, redefine tasks, and increase productivity, but that requires training, development and new ways of working. IBM AI Skills Academy, a new service offering and educational program, will help businesses plan, build and apply strategic AI initiatives across the enterprise like evaluating AI roles and skills, building the necessary skills, and creating an organizational structure in support of AI strategy, all while being supported by IBM’s expert resources.

The offering is aimed at business and technical professionals, from front-line managers to senior executives in areas including marketing, HR, legal, finance and operations, to enable them to find new value opportunities in their companies’ workflows. The curriculum covers areas essential to AI initiatives, including deep learning and machine learning frameworks, applying algorithms, open source technologies and data visualization, and will ensure that businesses make decisions less on “gut” intuition and more on data-driven analytics.

To source the right talent and help current employees advance their careers, IBM Talent & Transformation works with organizations like Citizens Financial Group Inc and Ernst & Young LLP to apply IBM Watson Talent products. Developed by experts in behavioral science, AI, and industrial-organizational psychology, the following solutions leverage analytics and the predictive power of AI:

  • Watson Recruitment: Analyzes an organization’s employment history and external data sources to determine key attributes for success in any given role and then uses AI to surface the most qualified candidates without bias.
  • Watson Candidate Assistant: Sifts through job-seekers’ employment and educational experience, infers skills and matches a candidate to openings that are the best fit with recommendations that might never surface with traditional applicant tracking systems.
  • Watson Career Coach: Serves as a virtual coach and infers employees’ skills, interests, and eminence and provides personalized advice to lay path for career opportunities.
  • Watson Talent Frameworks:  Defines the competencies and skills needed for a successful talent strategy today, and future-proofs organizations for tomorrow’s workforce in ways customized to their specific industry and needs.
  • Adverse Impact Analysis (AIA): Leverages Watson AI to analyze, identify and address unconscious bias across an organization’s employment history related to gender, race, age, education and previous employment.  

To gain an AI advantage, companies must also change how they work, where they work and what principles they use to guide their work.

To facilitate this change, IBM is introducing IBM Garage, designed to develop agile capabilities and change the way work is done. Inside the Garage – which serves as a physical instantiation of digital and AI-enabled transformation across an enterprise – IBM experts sit shoulder-to-shoulder with client employees to develop new ideas, then rapidly test, discard or advance those ideas. In environments designed to be a break from the everyday, traditional silos and barriers are eliminated — employees are encouraged to learn by doing, fail fast and iterate often, inspiring organizational change and buy-in. The IBM Garage is a tool for executing, scaling and managing an organization’s multiple transformation initiatives with strategic purpose amid ongoing market disruption. Companies including Ford Motor Company and Travelport are already working in IBM Garages around the world to create cultures of open collaboration and continuous learning.

IBM QRadar Advisor with Watson Expands Knowledge of Cybercriminal Techniques

New Algorithms Learn from Security Response Patterns within an Organization; Platform Now Leverages Open-Source MITRE ATT&CK Framework

IBM (NYSE: IBM) Security today announced new capabilities for the company’s AI-based security platform, QRadar Advisor with Watson, which expand the platform’s knowledge of cybercriminal behavior and allow it to learn from security response activities within an organization. IBM Security also is embracing the open-source MITRE ATT&CK framework, a playbook to help analysts understand how an attack has evolved and what might happen next based on real-world observations from the security community.

With some estimates predicting as many as 3.5 million cybersecurity vacancies by 20211, security teams today are struggling with the capacity and skills needed to effectively analyze and respond to a massive amount of cybersecurity incidents and alerts. The use of AI and machine learning technologies like QRadar Advisor with Watson, which learns from the latest research available in the external security community as well as activities happening within an organization, can equip analysts with the knowledge and automation needed to help them escalate critical threats faster and more effectively. 

As part of the latest release, IBM has developed new analytic and learning models which enable QRadar Advisor to identify long and slow attack patterns and adapt to the local client environment. This learning loop gets smarter with time based on additional interactions and engagement with analysts, allowing the tool to provide stronger recommendations on how to respond, as well confidence ratings based on how incidents align with historical data.

“Standards like MITRE ATT&CK, which take advantage of the collective knowledge of the security community, are crucial to advancing the industry and helping security teams stay ahead of increasingly sophisticated threats,” said Chris Meenan, Director of Security Intelligence Offering Management and Strategy, IBM Security. “Combining the ATT&CK framework of known adversary tactics with Watson for Cyber Security’s ability to stay current on the latest security research, QRadar Advisor can help arm analysts of all levels with the knowledge needed to better respond to the threats they’re facing.”

Connecting the Dots for More Decisive Threat Escalation

MITRE ATT&CK is an open-source playbook of cybercriminal behavior developed with real-world examples and insights from cybersecurity experts across the industry, which defines step-by-step patterns and actions that a threat can take as it evolves.

Using the ATT&CK framework, QRadar Advisor with Watson is moving beyond identifying the threat and providing external research on it, to now also shedding light on how external attacks and internal threats have progressed within the client infrastructure – for instance, whether a malware has just landed within an organization, or if it has collected data such as passwords or credit card information. This added context also includes a confidence level as well as the relevant evidence for each stage of the attack. By helping analysts visualize how an attack has evolved, this capability allows analysts to understand immediately where an incident stands in a threat lifecycle and what it might do next, which can significantly improve response times and effectiveness.

These additional insights from QRadar Advisor can augment the skills of analysts and help them connect the dots to see the full scope of an attack in a way that a higher-level analyst or threat hunter could do. Advisor can also use ATT&CK to recommend a more decisive incident escalation process to analysts, helping them understand the immediate next steps to take based on where the threat falls in its lifecycle. Leveraging the ATT&CK framework allows QRadar Advisor to provide this context in an industry standard that maps to company’s incident response playbooks.  

Applying New Learning Models to Threats within an Organization
IBM Security is also deepening the intelligence of QRadar Advisor with Watson by enabling it to learn and contextualize behavior of threats and security response actions happening inside an organization.

The initial release of QRadar Advisor with Watson enabled Watson to gather, read, and understand structured and unstructured security data from external sources, and bring the most relevant information to analysts’ fingertips to help them understand what was already known and published on a specific threat. Now, QRadar Advisor is also learning from the actions being taken within customers’ environments – both events happening in real time, as well as what has happened with certain types of events historically. Two new capabilities IBM is introducing for QRadar Advisor include:

  • Threat Disposition Models: QRadar Advisor uses new algorithms to build a model for specific types of threats, based on the actions and outcome of previous similar events that have happened within an organization. When a new investigation comes in, this model can be used to help rule out false positives, or help the analyst decide whether the threat should be escalated as malware, data exfiltration, or other specific types of threats. This capability becomes increasingly intelligent the more it’s used, learning and adapting based on interactions with analysts.
  • Cross-Investigation Analytics: Within a company’s Security Operation Center (SOC), multiple analysts may be working on different offenses which are related to each other, or alerts over many months might be part of a long-term adversarial campaign. This capability allows QRadar Advisor to find commonalities across investigations using cognitive reasoning, and automatically group together investigations that are related to avoid duplication of efforts, as well as provide fuller context to aid in the investigation.

Combining these new learning models, which add context to activities within the network, with Watson for Cyber Security’s investigative capabilities and ability to digest current research being published in the security community, analysts can now use QRadar Advisor to help drive deeper, more consistent investigations and respond faster and more efficiently.

IBM and Columbia University Launch Two Accelerator Programs for Blockchain Startups

Programs combine research and enterprise network expertise to help early-stage and later-stage companies build and scale blockchain businesses

New York City –  IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Columbia University today announced two new accelerator programs to build and scale the next generation of blockchain innovation. As key components of the Columbia-IBM Center for Blockchain and Data Transparency, the accelerators will offer entrepreneurs and blockchain network founders around the world access to the expertise and resources they need to establish blockchain networks.

The programs will each support ten startups that are working to build out blockchain businesses and developing enterprise blockchain networks. As part of each program, participants will explore best practices for building a blockchain network with technical, academic and business mentors from IBM and Columbia. They will have access to agile design workshops from IBM, an experienced network of business and technical support, connections to the Columbia research community and student talent pools, business value design assistance and access to IBM Cloud technology through the program. 

The goal of these programs is to help network founders develop their ideas into sustainable and scalable companies offering blockchain solutions. For those already further along in their journey, the programs are designed to help them achieve scale and build successful business networks. As blockchain technology continues to grow in popularity, its value is tied to the strength of the networks that use it. By helping companies build scalable solutions, the programs can foster meaningful enterprise blockchain adoption and drive business efficiencies across industries.

“The possibilities presented by blockchain technology are seemingly endless, and we are seeing strong dedication by technical talent to build game-changing applications,” said David Post, Managing Director, IBM Blockchain Accelerator. “What is also needed to truly bring about this sea change is the right technology and expertise which is why IBM is working with Columbia to help give these early- and mid-stage founders a way to build enterprise-grade networks that can move blockchain innovation forward.” 

The IBM Blockchain Accelerator  is designed for later-stage growth companies globally and focused on building out an enterprise business network and client base for their blockchain application. This will take place over approximately eight weeks with a mixture of in-person modules in New York and San Francisco, in combination with virtual programming, to ensure that founders can participate while devoting time and energy to scaling their businesses.

The Columbia Blockchain Launch Accelerator is designed for pre-seed, idea-stage companies with a Columbia or other recognized New York City-based University affiliation. This will take place on-site in New York City for approximately eight weeks, where founders will receive tools and training on how to build a blockchain startup. This is the sixth accelerator program hosted by Columbia that focuses on pre-seed founders.

“Columbia University has successfully launched several technology accelerators in New York City, but this our first in partnership with a corporation that is a clear industry leader in the field,” said Satish Rao, Executive Director, Columbia Blockchain Launch Accelerator. “Early- and late-stage teams will undoubtedly benefit from IBM’s technology resources, expertise and established network coupled with Columbia’s ground-breaking research and talent in blockchain and data transparency, all while benefiting from rapidly growing NYC blockchain communities.”

Both programs will give companies access to technology and services valued at approximately $400K per company. Nominations for the IBM Blockchain Accelerator are now open. Applications for Launch will open in January 2019. IBM and Columbia do not take equity nor charge a fee for participating in either of these programs.

Ilusión, Fiorentina & David’s Bridal open the door for digital transformation in fashion with IBM

The Mexican company Diltex is innovating the fashion industry through IBM Services solutions, gaining competitiveness and cost savings while accelerating its digital journey

MEXICO CITY,  — Diltex – the Mexican company owner of Ilusión & Fiorentina labels, sales agent of Vanity Fair Brands and franchisees of David’s Bridal in Mexico – and IBM, announced that the fashion company is improving customer experience and strengthening its production, distribution and commercialization processes through digital transformation.

Today, technology globalization and the proliferation of disruptive technologies encourages companies to transform their business models to provide improved client experiences, as well as innovative and omnichannel services. According to OECD, 25% of the global economy will be digital in the next five years*. In this scenario, the use of new technologies becomes key to ensure competitiveness and high performance.

In the transformation of the fashion industry, information technologies have become a key differentiator to boost innovation and agility, helping to build an infrastructure that allows managing, connecting and securing the information and data needed to improve client loyalty and the efficiency of the business. With innovation as main driver of growth, Diltex has anticipated those changes. Today, thanks to this initiative, Diltex has ensured high availability of its technological infrastructure, as well as virtually unlimited growth of its operations and digital transactions.

“Our customers are our main focus. In Diltex we have set ourselves the goal of serving our clients in any channel they wish with an unique experience,” says Ricardo Segón, Diltex IT Director. “Omnichannel plays a fundamental role at this point, because either via web, mobile or physical store, people want to connect with the brand and have a homogeneous experience. Today, IBM is responsible for our technological infrastructure to help make our internal processes more efficient, what is translated in better care of our customers,” adds Segón.

Diltex maintains a strategy that seeks to give consumers a greater number of points of contact with brands and live, in that way, a great experience that allows the company to continue increasing loyalty, through an omnichannel experience.

To achieve this, Diltex implemented an IBM technology services solution that includes data center and process contingency capabilities in a service environment in a private cloud, which provides flexibility, capabilities to support business applications and transformation of its business operation in stores, in addition to allowing the deployment of the new digital point-of-sale application.

“Diltex has already begun the path of their transformation, implementing a comprehensive strategy that includes not only renewing the customer experience, but strengthening its entire technological structure to streamline its internal processes, maximize revenue and reduce costs,” says Eduardo Sarmiento, IBM Mexico Services Director. “With this project, we are helping Diltex build and run a technology environment that is protected and easier to implement, with the final customer in the center of their strategy.”

With this agreement, Diltex seeks to appropriate the transforming capabilities of technology, to generate experiences that can give more value to its customers and employees, and encourages its growth in Mexico, the United States and Central America.

*Study: “OECD Perspectives on digital economy”

Telefónica and IBM Collaborate to Apply Blockchain to Streamline Telco Processes

Madrid – Telefónica and IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced a collaboration to implement blockchain technology to streamline core business processes. The initiative will focus on the key attributes of blockchain to address complex challenges in services delivered by Telefónica that register data and information from different sources regarding business and network processes.

The power of blockchain is applicable to the telecommunications business, which participates in an ecosystem with a  large network of disparate organizations. Blockchain establishes a shared, immutable record of all the transactions that take place within a network and then enables permissioned parties access to trusted data in real time. By applying the technology to end-to-end telco processes, a new form of command and consent can be introduced into the flow of information that enables significant gains in efficiency and trust.  By allowing participating members secure and authorized access to necessary details, blockchain also delivers enhanced privacy and confidentiality.

The complexity of business processes within telecommunications is why the market size for blockchain telecommunications projects is expected to grow from USD 46.6 million in 2018 to USD 993.8 million by 2023, according to a report from Research and Markets.

The initial project between Telefónica and IBM is aimed at improving the reliability and transparency of information collected by different networks when routing international calls. Using the IBM Blockchain Platform powered by the IBM Cloud, Telefónica will work to track in real time the certainty and traceability of each international call and its attributes (mainly origin, destination and duration) in a decentralized platform to which all the operators in the chain have permissioned access. The solution is a clear example of how the application of blockchain technology within the telco networks, dramatically enhances the accuracy and immutability of the data generated while delivering different services.

Beyond voice, the solution can be applied to many other services, building a trustworthy network of peers (operators, service providers, vendors, etc.) involved in delivering a digital service such as data consumption, authentication processes, cloud computing or data storage. The network can then reach a consensus in real-time about the veracity and traceability of the information and data pertaining to the services usage that is generated and collected from multiple sources and systems, regardless the owner or the entity that is hosting or operating those systems. This approach dramatically improves the efficiency in business processes that consume this data, such as billing, accounting and reporting. Additionally, it can help to discover fraudulent behavior within end-to-end processes and resolve recurring problems between vendors, providers and operators such as dispute resolution, commercial losses due to uncollected revenues or discrepancies between the information recorded by each peer.

“This project is one of our first initiatives to secure real benefits from the adoption of blockchain in our core business. We believe that the new paradigm of process decentralization that blockchain facilitates perfectly fits with the telecommunications industry and can help us to significantly improve the way we have been traditionally solving the integrations between partners, “says Gonzalo Martín-Villa, Chief Innovation Officer of Telefónica. “Blockchain will allow operators to generate a new layer of confidence in the Internet based not on the players that generate the data and the transactions but on the data itself.”

“In a world that is increasingly focused on data, customer experience, trust and digital ecosystems, blockchain can help communications service providers to streamline internal processes or, as in the  project we are working with Telefónica, to increase trust among the different partners in the communications ecosystem, avoiding the need for call data reconciliation and thus achieving high potential benefits like reduced risk, time saving and cost removal,” said Ignacio Martín Santos, Managing Director for Telefónica Integrated Account in IBM.

Beyond voice, the solution can be applied to many other services, building a trustworthy network of peers (operators, service providers, vendors, etc.) involved in delivering a digital service such as data consumption, authentication processes, cloud computing or data storage. The network can then reach a consensus in real-time about the veracity and traceability of the information and data pertaining to the services usage that is generated and collected from multiple sources and systems, regardless the owner or the entity that is hosting or operating those systems. This approach dramatically improves the efficiency in business processes that consume this data, such as billing, accounting and reporting. Additionally, it can help to discover fraudulent behavior within end-to-end processes and resolve recurring problems between vendors, providers and operators such as dispute resolution, commercial losses due to uncollected revenues or discrepancies between the information recorded by each peer.

Ancestry Adopts IBM Cloud, Advanced Analytics to Discover Business Insights

ARMONK, N.Y.,  — IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced today that Ancestry LLC, the world’s largest consumer DNA network, has selected IBM Planning Analytics as-a-Service on the IBM Cloud for its business planning and forecasting processes, to take advantage of the combined solution’s fast analytics, scalability and efficiency.

Ancestry has helped customers unlock hidden insights from historical records and genomic data since 1983. Today the company boasts more than 10 million AncestryDNA customers and more than three million subscribers globally.

IBM, along with Data41, a software developer and integrator of financial planning and reporting systems, worked with Ancestry to create a high-speed analytics and forecasting solution on the IBM Cloud. With the new solution, Ancestry can analyze all financial data, from budgeting to labor costs, to the forecasting of subscriptions and revenue to help make more informed and strategic business decisions based on the latest insights.

“We have expanded rapidly around the world, so we required a system that supports our pace of growth,” said Curtis Tripoli, Vice President, Financial Planning & Analysis, at Ancestry. “The analytics is a comprehensive solution, and because it’s on the IBM Cloud we get the reliability as well as the efficiency and scale we were looking for.”

“Great companies like Ancestry understand the value that comes from leveraging advanced technologies like analytics through the cloud to improve things like performance, scale and efficiency,” said Greg Adams, Vice President, IBM Business Analytics. “As these companies grow and scale, Planning Analytics on the IBM Cloud can help them continue to not only manage but extract valuable insights from their growing business.”